News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.
Arts & Entertainment

In 'Grand Piano,' Elijah Wood feels the pressure of a world-class pianist

Actor Elijah Wood attends the
Actor Elijah Wood attends the "Grand Piano" screening at Nitehawk Cinema on February 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Listen to story

Download this story 3.0MB

Actor Elijah Wood is perhaps best known for his role as Frodo Baggins in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but he's been acting for more than 20 years now. 

His latest project opens today, a movie called "Grand Piano."


Wood plays a famous concert pianist named Tom Selznick who retires after botching a notoriously difficult piece of music known as La Cinquette, written by his mentor a piano legend named Patrick Godureaux. 

To take on the role of a rattled musician who's preparing for a big comeback, Elijah had to take a crash course in music.

"Basically I spent about three weeks working with a piano teacher," said Wood. "Though she knew that we were making a film and that i didn't have to play note for note, she definitely taught me like I was a pianist."

But his role isn't just of a concert pianist, it's a pianist with a lot at stake. Moments into his performance, stage fright quickly turns into sheer terror as Tom Selznick discovers that a one wrong note could lead to dire consequences. Enter actor John Cusack as a mad man who whispers in the musician's ear piece as he begins to play.

There's a very strong Alfred Hitchcock vibe to Grand Piano. Suspense and scares are elements Elijah Wood is more than comfortable with. In fact, he relishes them.

A few years back, Wood and a few friends launched a production company which specializes in horror and dedicated to the creation of probing films that test the definitions of what horror can be. 

"The inspiration for the company is certainly driven by a love for the genre. At the time, it was really in reaction to the films that we felt weren't being made here. Films like 'Let The Right One In,' in Sweden," said Wood. "We felt like there wasn't one place for these kinds of films to be made. We were also really excited at the notion of pushing the bounds about what one considers a horror film.